This is the next post in my series discussing gun charges in Laredo, Texas. The last post provided information about a state law restricting those convicted of felonies or certain domestic offenses from later possessing a firearm. Those in violation of this criminal statute can face serious legal consequences, including revocation of probation or parole, additional felony or misdemeanor charges, and enhanced penalties for related crimes. Retaining an experienced criminal defense attorney can help protect your interests. This post will discuss how the possession of a gun while committing other criminal acts may result in more severe penalties for the underlying offenses. If you have been arrested on gun-related charges, contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.
Residents of the state of Texas who engage in criminal activity may face serious consequences, whether or not a crime involves the use of a weapon. In addition, under Section 46.04 of the Texas Penal Code, an individual may be charged with illegal possession of a firearm without having committed another crime. When a person engages in illicit behavior and is in possession of a gun, however, the penalties for the underlying crime are often elevated. Commonly, the following charges receive escalated treatment when a firearm is involved:
- Domestic assault
- Drug crimes
If, for example, a person commits a simple assault, meaning the victim does not suffer serious physical harm, the person may be charged with a Texas class A misdemeanor charge. A conviction for this charge may result in up to one year in jail and up to a $4,000.00 fine. If the individual has a gun in his possession at the time of the assault, whether or not it was used in the crime itself, the assault charge can be increased to aggravated assault. Under Texas law, aggravated assault is treated as a second degree felony with a potential jail sentence of 2-20 years and up to a $10,000 fine.
Possessing a weapon during the commission of an offense may result in more than longer prison terms or significantly higher fines. Depending upon the individual’s prior convictions, he or she may be charged with state illegal possession as well. Further, Texas law provides for additional first-degree felony charges when a crime involves certain specifically protected groups. If a victim is a child, a law enforcement official, elected official, elderly or disabled, the individual may face first degree felony penalties, including up to life in prison. In light of the severe consequences related to these offenses, it is important to engage a knowledgeable defense attorney to assist you.
If you have been arrested on firearm-related charges, you may still have valid defenses available to you. Experienced counsel can help identify whether an unlawful search and seizure, or other violations, occurred at the time of the arrest. If so, the defenses may apply not only to the underlying crime, but may also be a defense against the related gun charge. Time is of the essence. Contact my office online or by telephone to speak with a lawyer. My office services Laredo and many areas of South Texas.